Kicking The Oil Habit While Camping (Partially So Far)

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 1:21 AM
    Message # 1541701
    Climbers,

    So it is ironic that someone who makes equipment used quite a bit in the oil and energy production business wants to kick the oil habit, but I have always believed there is a better way.  I am doing a lot of serious road tripping, even if it is only weekends for until my August two week climbing trip.  Just about every weekend I am camping somewhere.

    I have used a compressed gas lantern, but hate that the light gets dim when the liquid gas level in the canister s low (I have lots of partially full canisters).  Then I tried battery powered LED lanterns, but hate that I always have to keep spare batteries around for when the lantern starts to get dim (go to Supertopo.com's gear review of headlamps for the deception in battery lifetime claims for an explanation).

    I have always been intrigued by solar panels and chargers, but until recently they were very exotic and difficult to obtain.  Goal Zero and other companies have changed this.  There are several good companies that now make solar panels and power packs geared toward camping and base camps.  I chose to go with Goal Zero because they have a good reputation.  I decided  wanted to have the ability to keep my lap top going while I am connected up either by WiFi or wireless card (the later takes lots of power), so I went with the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 power pack and the Nomad 20 solar panel combined with the inverter.  If you are just charging up your cell phone or laptop, then this is a bit overkill, but I wanted to operate the laptop with wireless and a solar lantern at the same time.

    On a recent trip to Bishop (bouldering mecca of California besides Castle Rock State Park), I had the lantern going full light along with my lap top wireless connecting into Youtube to blast movies and music over the roar of my MSR stove (not suggesting you should do this) and a full charge of the power pack from a day in the sun allowed me to keep this going for three to four hours.  This setup is a little expensive, but if you are into operating your laptop or charging up professional camera batteries, this is the way to go.  I just bought my last gas canister and lantern battery.

    Now if only someone could create a solar charger and power pack at a reasonable price and weight that allows you to cook your meals without gas, but I guess we are a few years away from that - I guess that is job security for me.

    Mark
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:41 AM
    Reply # 1541823 on 1541701

    Can't help you kicking the oil habit but for those partial pressurized fuel canisters, you can tape a handwarmer (or two) at the bottom of the canister when you use them to drive the last bit of gas out.

     

    Hung

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